045: Graceful Breakups with Kelsey Grant

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. The topic today is how to have a healthy break up and the guest star is Kelsey Grant, a love and relationship coach. Rob’s viewpoint on break ups are that they’re part of the natural cycle. There’s all this cultural bias around breaking up and how it’s bad and means that you didn’t succeed, however Rob thinks that’s a load of crap. This show is about how to transition from a relationship and gracefully move into the next scene.

Kelsey is passionate about living in a world where people are inspired, fulfilled, balance and happy within the expansiveness of their intimate relationships. As a love and relationship educator rooted in radical self-love methodology, she writes, speaks, and teaches coaches, thought leaders and game-changers on how to access greater alignment with love for their leaderships to thrive. She is a founder and facilitator of a local sisterhood circle, and currently she is teaching A Year of Love, her flagship 12-month program that focuses on the essential tools we don’t know we don’t know.

Rob and Kelsey discuss her journey and her process for graceful breakups:

  • Kelsey did not intent to be in the whole relationship and love domain. A coach suggested that she pursue coaching as a profession because people were listening to her and taking action on her advice.
  • She started as leadership and business coaching because that felt most familiar and comfortable, however she started to notice every single session would always come back to relationships. Sometimes it was their romantic relationships, sometimes it was relationships within business, or the relationship to business, the relationship with money etc.
  • She started honing in on the dynamic of relationships and that everything in our lives is a reflection of our relationship to ourselves.
  • What she’s learned about herself in the process of this is that she’s consistently and forever a student. She’s always uncovering different elements of who she knows herself to be, and the only reason she can be effective in her work is because she’s willing to go through every relationship in her life and explore what is and isn’t working.
  • Kelsey also knows that every person she has an encounter with is her teacher. As much as she plays the role of coach and teacher and guide, she learns from every client and every person in her life.
  • The process Kelsey has around breakups has evolved. She used to be very dramatic and not the most conscious human being. Now she looks for more effective processes and what it comes down to is honoring herself. It’s asking herself, “What do I need to actually be at my best?”
  • The first few days after a relationship ending there is a huge wave of grief and pain. The automatic response tends to be shut that pain down. Do not feel it, distract yourself, avoid it. Party, eat crappy food, watch bad TV. Distance yourself from the pain you’re feeling.
  • Kelsey asks, ‘What would it be like to sit with that emotion? What would it be like to enquire into that emotion and really ask it what is going on?”
  • The more she zoned into that, she started to see the pain she experienced at the end of a relationship was also unearthing all the other unresolved pain from past relationships and scenarios that she had bypassed and not dealt with. The breakup becomes the opening for all of that, which is why it can be so overwhelming.
  • Acknowledge the unresolved feelings, give them some attention, then release them. Let go of the weight of the past. The first step is stirring up the pieces in you that are ready to be released, and they may not be attached to the relationship that has just ended.
  • Being able to go to the depths of feeling the rage, the sadness, the grief or sorrow allows Kelsey to tap into a higher dimension of sweetness on the other end of her life when she’s come through that experience. It’s worth sitting in the experience of heaviness for a short while for the expansiveness that you then take with you into the rest of your life.
  • Give yourself permission to be pissed. Give yourself permission to be sad. Play with it. Explore it. The freedom is on the other side of embracing, acknowledging and accepting the shadow emotions that rise up.
  • Rob notices there is often a connotation from the break up, a feeling of ‘what does this mean about me?’ e.g. I’m not attractive enough. Kelsey says that’s a completely normal part of the process.
  • We make the relationship starting mean ‘I’m attractive and worthy of love’ so the second that it ends, we think that must not be true. That is what helps stir up the emotions we need to process and it’s those stories that we get to come face to face with.
  • Those stories are what are limiting you in every other area of your life because it’s been unconscious until now. The breakup makes it conscious.
  • Perhaps you’ve been carrying a story that you’re less than, or that you need another person to feel validated in your worth or your truth.
  • Kelsey suggests asking, “What would it be like if I started to embrace my own worth, just me? What could I really make available to myself in my life if I knew that my worth didn’t depend on that person choosing me or not choosing me?”
  • If we can really embrace the shadow stuff when it comes up, we do get to a point where we realize all those stories are a lie and we’re okay. There comes a point where the narrative starts changing to ‘who I am is enough.’
  • We think relationships have so much meaning but sometimes it’s actually just a cycle that is done, and it’s a soul contract where both parties have gotten what they need, and it’s the friendliest thing to do to gracefully end so the next adventure can occur.
  • When one person is suffering and the other person feels fine, Kelsey has some advice. The first thing to recognize is that we all filter what we expose on social media. So chances are whatever they’re disclosing is only a fraction of the truth of what is actually there for them. We assume that what we see is the truth and that they must be fine, and then use that as ammunition to beat ourselves up.
  • Many times when there’s one person sitting in the shit and the other person is out making their life look perfect, chances are that’s a vehicle the other person is using to process their stuff. There is an integration process that happens after a relationship ends and that’s for both people to do.
  • Maybe the person that got broken up with is ready to do the deep dive into their feelings, and the other person is not ready yet and masking that through partying or whatever.
  • We think we can control people and that we have a say in how another person will process the ending of a relationship. But everyone deals with things differently. By focusing so much on what the other person is doing we delay our own intimate connection with what’s going on within ourselves. It’s a great tactic of our ego or shadow to distance ourselves from what is actually there for us to process.
  • Kelsey recommends taking time to have no contact, and that includes doing your best to not look at their social media. And if you do look at it, don’t use it as ammunition to destroy yourself with.

Kelsey and Rob coach Tara, who has recently been through a break up:

  • Tara was married and divorced in her 20s, then after dating a while, took some time to find herself and felt she had found a strength in herself. She got in another relationship that saw her move countries to live with this man. The relationship ended last week when her visa was about to run out so she had 22 hours to leave the country.
  • Tara has felt that strong woman she had found disappear over the last 18 months and she realizes she felt dependent on this guy. She doesn’t recognize herself, she doesn’t believe in herself and she’s questioning her self worth. She did all the changing and compromising in the relationship. Now she is back in her home country, with no job and feels like she’s starting from scratch. The logistics are hard enough, but her self-worth is so low she’s having a hard time figuring out how to move forward.
  • The good news is that Tara found that sense of strength and self-worth already once before. It’s not lost, there’s just been a slight disconnection. So all that is required is to reconnect with that part of herself. Part of that process will be allowing the emotion to rise up.
  • Kelsey imagines there will be sadness and grief, because it’s a loss. There will also likely be anger and rage that comes up. It will be easier to go into that anger, so one of the opportunities here is to sit in the vulnerability and feel that tenderness.
  • It’s actually the tenderness that makes you extraordinarily strong and powerful as a woman. It’s very easy, especially when dating strong men who have narratives that ‘you’re not intelligent enough’, to question your own sanity.
  • When someone keeps throwing the same projection in Kelsey’s direction, she views it as an indication that there’s an element of themselves that they feel inferior or insecure about. Most of the time it has nothing to do with your intelligence, but it can also mirror the fact that you also have an emotional intelligence that maybe he doesn’t understand, and that’s frightening.
  • While it’s possible to speculate endlessly about the underlying reasons for the other party ending things, that doesn’t help. The fact is it’s ended and you have to make peace with that.
  • We’re told to focus on all the shitty things in the relationship and then move on. However that keeps us stuck. Reconnecting to the heart of the matter, the love that was actually in the partnership is what sets us free.
  • Instead of trying to intellectualize through the breakup, we have to feel our way through. That means first being in those emotions, and moving them up and out in a responsible way.
  • Some ways to process those emotions in a container include working with a therapist, a coach or even a journaling process such as rage letters that you then set on fire.
  • Tara’s ex is already on Tinder, within days of their relationship ending. It’s really challenging to be with that information and the mind will make it mean all sorts of things that are not the truth.
  • Spiritual contracts for relationships are where two souls come together to help each other evolve, grow, shift and change. The other person’s path may include a spiritual contract with someone else, otherwise it wouldn’t be happening.
  • It’s important to focus back in on our own path, our own journey, and decide not to make it wrong that he’s doing that. If you go into making it wrong that that’s happening, you stay stuck and disconnected from your process and what you need to heal and recover. Ask, ‘What do I need to move forward?’
  • The process of getting it back together becomes more expedited the more you’re willing to face what it is you need to face.
  • Give yourself a couple of months of sitting with this and processing it. It’s okay to be in that experience. Then revisit the process of what you did the first time to be connected to that strong woman.
  • Rob wants to make the point that this guy did not treat Tara well in the breakup. As a man, Rob tries to make things fair and clean, and there’s a level of mistreating that this man has for her to acknowledge.
  • Rob suggests no contact, and extending that from social media to no phone calls because he’s calling to assuage his guilt. Block him if need be, or communicate that there will be no further communication.

Find Kelsey:

You can find her at http://www.kelseygrant.com/